I started volunteering in an elderly house when I was 15 years old and stayed there for six years. Unfortunately, I had to stop volunteering for the last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Moreover, I am a part of a program called DialoguePerspectives that brings young academics together and creates an innovative interfaith-worldview dialogue. Currently, I also volunteer for the Junge Islam Konferenz. The project acts as a platform for young people to discuss diverse issues and concerns regarding equality in society. I am a part of the board and involved in organizing conferences and projects. For example, this year we organized the annual Federal Conference in May which put the focus on challenging times and how society is being shaped by us.
„One of the benefits of volunteering is that it allows you to embrace different perspectives while making you more open-minded.“
When I found out about the Junge Islam Konferenz I got interested as I have never been engaged in projects concerned with politics or issues faced by the public. I became a part of this project because I understand the importance of the topics we discuss and would like to express my opinion and vision about them while contributing to making small changes. We are dealing there with issues about living together and our post-migrant generation, so it is important to discuss these issues while giving a voice to marginalized people. Positive energy and mutual inspiration in the network inspired me to contribute to developing this platform for continuous exchange in the future. Another point that attracted me was the diversity of the group. We all participate as we want to contribute regardless of our characteristics or backgrounds.
One of the benefits of volunteering is that it allows you to embrace different perspectives while making you more open-minded. Growing up, being a volunteer helped me shape my personality. It made me leave my comfort zone while contributing positively towards my professional and personal development. During the pandemic, I got a chance to develop my problem-solving skills while brainstorming and coming up with creative ideas for organizing conferences and coming up with interesting, engaging topics.
The project also made me recognize and appreciate my privileges and use them to give a voice to the marginalized. Volunteering makes us realized that we have the same aim, and therefore we become more accepting and empathetic. We embrace different worldviews as well as accept people for who they are and build a strong community. Even though I know that I cannot change the world, I can change the world for someone even on a small scope. I have seen people coming to the conference without any previous knowledge and leaving with more information and understanding of others’ cultures. That helps break down prejudices and create a more cohesive and pluralistic society.